On Tuesday night, Prince William attended the Tusk Conservation Awards for the first time since he was named the Prince of Wales in September. With a poppy on his lapel in advance of Remembrance Sunday on November 13, the prince delivered a speech to the audience at Hampton Court Palace, which included his cousin, Peter Phillips, who attended on behalf of the charity ISPS Handa.
In his remarks, he noted that difficult times shouldn’t lead humans to abandon their commitments to the environment. “We are living through turbulent times and it is all too easy to lose sight of how critical it is that we look after our natural world,” he said. “But we must remain focused on investing in nature and the environment, protecting it for future generations. We must not pass on the baton to our children and grandchildren, apologizing for our lack of collective action. Instead, we must do all we can to support those who support our natural world, often at great risk to themselves.”
This year’s winners of the Prince William Award for conservation were Achilles Brunnel Byaruhanga of Uganda, a bird wildlife expert, and Ian Craig of Kenya, who works at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy where William served as an intern after his graduation from Eton. William is also friends with Craig’s daughter, Jecca Baillie, who introduced her father in a video that was screened during Tuesday’s ceremony.
The speech comes as William continues to step into the role of the royal family’s main spokesperson for the environment now that King Charles III has ascended to the throne. Tusk, a charity begun in the 1980s to further wildlife conservation and anti-poaching efforts, has been a patronage of William’s since 2005, and in 2013, he launched their conservation awards. In 2020, he expanded his efforts to climate change and founded the Earthshot Prize, which he started with the idea that it would become the Nobel Prize for climate.
On Wednesday, William continued his celebration of conservation at a Tusk symposium at St. James Palace, where he spoke with the award winners. According to the Independent, he also noted that he wanted to someday travel to see endangered mountain gorillas in central Africa. “It’s sort of the one thing I haven’t been able to do yet, so I’m really keen,” he added.
Afterward, he attended sessions of the FilmAfrica festival at the Garden Cinema in London where he met with young film students with African heritage.
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